Review Summary: Shop til you drop...
I’ve always believed that bands will make the music they want to make. No matter of label influence or the calibre of a production/recording team – the band will make the music they feel like making. Sure enough, the case can be argued whether it is for the occasional money grab, experimentation, compilation or even live recording, but the band will have some measure of control, until they “don’t”. By now, most in the metal community will have heard of Trivium, either in a commercial sense or in passing, built from a number of rather successful and popular records. Their latest release, Vengeance Falls
marks a certain down point in the band’s career. Understand that even with the advice of one David Draiman of Disturbed fame, Trivium were destined to make an unadulterated, plain and detrimental record that would rival some of the year’s other mainstream releases. Of those releases one can note Avenged Sevenfold’s Hail To The King
which somewhat predictably, fell short of making a positive impression or the new DevilDriver with Winter Kills
which wasn't bad, but didn't offer anything new, giving thought that too much “okay” music is simply that – too much. None of these releases are terribly bad, but when was it okay for these so called mainstream acts to make music consistently under par.
Scientific studies have shown that if you eat before you shop for groceries, you’re likely to buy less and therefore save money. Continuing with this vague metaphor, I've eaten. In fact, I’m bloated to a point of sickness and as you could imagine I’ll also be saving my hard-earned dollars. Vengeance Falls
sets the standard low for a band that showed such an expansive level of growth on their previous records and come 2013 Trivium have conformed to their own internal lack of flair, missing on what made them interesting in the first place. Take the lyrics in ‘No Way To Heal’ and ‘I Believe’ for example:
I'm running on empty, I'm chasing a dead dream
I'm all out of time, Clutching the will
Only to feel, No way to heal
Heafy is actually trying to forewarn of the band’s creative turmoil, or at least the demise of this record. There’s a chance that the redundancy found in Heafy’s lyricism is also coming to the surface, Trivium seem to be running out of ideas...
The blood it covers our hands, It is all over our hands
This speaks for itself. Vengeance Falls
presents itself too friendly for those that were looking for some of the old Trivium intensity. With tracks that are designed solely on Heafy’s singing with a minimal backing scream, and not taking the full-forced approach which would’ve seen this record take on a whole different level. It’s a shame that Trivium couldn’t even match the instrumental ability shown on Shogun
or even the catchiness of In Waves
. Vengeance Falls
is child safe, clean and unadulterated, a huge step back from the potential they showed, not to mention the underground sound they grew from.
Some have already pointed out the effect Draiman has had on Vengeance Falls
. But when it comes down to it, they’re unneeded to say the least. There are notable inclusions, found mainly in ‘To Believe’, where Heafy’s vocal style matches a rather rhythmic phrasing found almost commonplace on any Disturbed record. Sure, it’s unfair to say that Draiman’s influence is creating a cloning effect but as it lies, the music feels half-assed, lazy and uninspired (take any of these descriptions to be readily applied to Vengeance Falls
. Put simply, Trivium stopped making the music “they” wanted to make, taking on board all the nuances that made others like Disturbed successful. Put the two together and it becomes unnatural for a band that used to be a little more thrash-y than hard, yet radio-friendly rock, more riff than quasi-breakdown. More problems rise from the current air crash that is Trivium’s discography. They’ve had their up’s, but they’ve mis-read the data and as of a result Vengeance Falls
isn’t half the album it should be. Things get worse for this Florida based act. Not only in the most basic elements of song-writing but also in the production and mixing. Heafy’s vocals take centre stage as you could imagine but under a sea of snare and bass triggers the rest of Trivium’s musical prowess becomes a dull wash, almost painful to listen to.
Overall, Vengeance Falls
is a low point in Trivium’s career. With almost an hour of play-time with no stand out moments it’s unfortunate that this album simply couldn’t be more. For what it’s worth some will enjoy the endless cheese soaked hook lines that dominate the record but for the most part the record doesn’t even achieve a pass in comparison to the band’s previous albums. If you’re already full on what today’s commercially viable metal has to offer, it might be time to regurgitate and fill up elsewhere.